The world of American football has been settled for the year.  The Clemson Tigers reign over the college football world as the New England Patriots continue to do the same over the NFL, following their recent Super Bowl win over the Atlanta Falcons.  While it might seem like the long slumber of the offseason is just beginning, the time will fly by, faster than you think.  Spring practice for USF begins on March 6th, just about a month from now.  Something is always happening.  So, stay tuned.

National Signing Day 2017 is in the history books and the impact at USF is one that remains to be seen.  They didn’t come close to their historical high class rankings, but time will be needed for the new head coach, Charlie Strong, to make an impact.  The Bulls immediately lost 11 commitments when Willie Taggart left for Oregon, so it as no small feat for Strong and company to finish as well as they did, given what they were handed.  Now that the recruiting season has ended, the recruiting season begins.

The Lawson brothers combine for 47 points to lead the Memphis Tigers to a an 85-75 win over the USF Bulls.  Both teams started out cold on offense, scoring just nine points apiece with 13:01 left in the first half.  The Tigers would soon heat up, due to a strong first half performance by K.J., and Dedric Lawson.  They scored 14 and 18 points respectively in the first period of play.  Memphis led by as much as 16, but the Bulls came back to narrow the gap to just five points to trail 35-30 going into halftime. 


It is National Signing Day Eve, so you know what the next 24 hours of news will be about.  Right now, all is quiet on the recruiting front.  Either head football coach, Charlie Strong, has a lot of signing day surprises or there’s nothing to say. 


With less than a week to go before football National Signing Day, it has become the calm before the storm in terms of media coverage. USF’s recruiting commitments look to be one of the worst classes in program history, from a ranking perspective. The old coaching staff did some unusual things in recruiting over the past year. For starters, they used some of the 2017 class’ scholarships on other players. That made for a small class to begin with. To compound the problem, they filled up their limited slots with low rated recruits many months before National Signing Day. Prior to Willie Taggart’s tenure at USF, the Bulls had typically managed a few surprises at the end. For some reason, this class was all wrapped up many months ago, leaving incoming head coach, Charlie Strong, a bad situation. There have already been reports of offers being downgraded or withdrawn from recruits to make room for others. By the looks of things, Strong has more than one signing day surprise in the works.


National Signing Day is just one week from today, and there is much uncertainty about who will sign for USF. There have been several de- commitments due to the targeting by former football head coach, Willie Taggart. The latest of these was three star athlete, Bruce Judson Jr. He was one of the first targeted by Taggart, so it is of little surprise that he will not be visiting USF. The other side of the mystery in this year’s recruiting class is what new head coach, Charlie Strong, brings to the table. Since his hire, a handful of elite recruits have expressed interest in USF, a program with zero four or five star recruits in this class. Expect the unexpected on National Signing Day.

The subject of a departing coach can be a difficult subject to discuss from the viewpoint of those being left behind, without seeming like sour grapes.  As such, most of the post-USF Willie Taggart related news has been ignored by the Graze.  Taggart has made some less than classy moves since his departure, including the heavy recruiting of USF commits in an already historically weak class of his own creation.  Then, there is the news of former USF and now Oregon strength and conditioning coach, Irele Oderinde, being put on unpaid leave following the hospitalization of three offensive linemen due to overexertion.  Over the weekend, another former USF coach hired by Oregon, David Reaves, was fired as co-offensive coordinator after just a week on the job due to being arrested and charged with DUI.  Taggart’s departure combined with the Charlie Strong hire has been a public relations bonanza for USF.  For USF fans it is getting hard to miss him, now.


The world enters a new chapter of history today. One of the miracles of the American republican concept is the peaceful transition of power. The world of sports is the realm which this blog exists, but that world is only possible because of the peace and comfort provided by the greater framework of our national existence. Sports fandom is a mere diversion from the many important things of daily life. Regardless which team you root for in the political arena, today should be a celebration for all, because it means that the republican concept and the liberty it guarantees, is still alive.


It has been a long time since the USF Bulls football team was in a position to be ranked during the regular season, and they just finished their first season with a ranking in the final AP top 25 in program history. Final rankings often lend themselves to preseason rankings for next season. Most of those rankings are putting the Bulls somewhere between 10 and 20. It was noted in previous edition of the Graze that this was the first year that four teams from Florida were ranked in the top 25, ever. It was further noted that the last time the state had three programs in the top 25 was 2004. #19 USF managed to edge out #20 Miami, but fell short of the #14 Gators and #8 Seminoles. Next season could be very different. Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times notes that in ranking that most respects the Bulls, CBS, they are ranked 10th, while Florida is not ranked at all. It is quite possible that USF will be the second highest ranked of teams from Florida throughout the entire season, with a relatively soft schedule and a high powered Quinton Flowers led offense.

All is quiet on the recruiting front, in spite of the fact that 15 football recruits were on campus this weekend. All had something nice to say about USF and the coaching staff, but there are no new commitments to announce and the speculation about said potential commitments is the business of other sites. That said, it looks like there may be some big fish landed on February 1st. At present, the Bulls have one of the worst classes in the AAC and one of the worst in program history.


It’s Friday the 13th and everything is okay. National Signing Day is approaching, and some elite recruit is making a plan to show the sports world how selfless of a player he is, by making a spectacle of his collegiate choice, a celebration of his own narcissism. He is picking out three or four new hats, making sure to include one of his future team’s rivals for good measure. While deciding where an athlete will spend his playing years in college is an important decision, keeping coaches, fans, and media guessing until the first Wednesday in February speaks volumes of character. Former USF beat writer and current ESPN sports reporter, Brett McMurphy, tweeted yesterday that the American Football Coaches Association has proposed that an early signing day be added on the third Wednesday in December. This date coincides with the signing day for junior college athletes, and had unanimous support from the AFCA member coaches. The NCAA had considered a second signing day in June, but that had no support from coaches, who feared that high school seniors would skip their senior year of playing to be keep from damaging their collegiate prospects. What a second signing day in December would do is greatly diminish the media circus that occurs every February. The third Wednesday of December would be in the middle of bowl season, a great time for a team player to not make it about him.


The last remnants of the 2016 college football season are passing away, daily. As such, the final AP and USA Today Coaches’ Polls have been released. The Bulls have made a little more of their own history, ranking in the AP top 25 after a season for the first time since program inception, with a final rank of 19th. That’s pretty good, considering they got little to no attention from this poll until near the end of the season. That ranking matches what the Coaches’ poll decided, a poll which has been more friendly to USF in their rankings.


Tulane earns just their fourth win of the year on the road against the struggling USF Bulls, 82-67. USF, reeling from the recent loss of their top scoring point guard, Jahmal McMurray, and the recent firing of head coach, Orlando Antigua, notch their fourth straight loss in a row, ninth on the season.